A Perfect . . . Huh?
A Perfect Circle
Bren Events Center
Tuesday, Feb. 6
My friend Mike is an audio/engineering/electronics geek who sometimes prattles on for hours about all sorts of things I don't really understand, like patchbays, capacitors, resistors, transformers, connectors, tubes and transistors. Sometimes I'll interrupt him to say something like, "Hey, is it dangerous to breathe those fumes?" and he'll kind of chuckle and say, "Oh, don't worry about me," and I'll say, "I wasn't, actually. I was worried about me." This is how it was going the other night when he suddenly said something that caught my attention. He was talking about microphones and phasing and phantom power supplies and how if you have this and this and then this happens, then you have "a perfect circle." Thinking, perhaps, that this is where the band whom I love got their name, I tried once more to understand what a perfect circle refers to, at which point, Mike started talking about X and Y coordinates and waves and harmonics, and then I looked at A Perfect Circle's website, which says the name refers to friendship, so I guess it doesn't matter anyway.
But still, wouldn't it be cool if the name had some secret electronic meaning? I still think maybe it does. I just don't understand what that meaning means.
The sold-out show at the Bren Events Center started with violinist/bass player Paz Lenchantin playing violin on a platform, illuminated by a single blue spotlight. The stage was dark, and it was all very surreal and theatrical, and one by one, the different band members appeared, at which point you realized they'd all been standing there in the dark the whole time, except for singer Maynard Keenan, who came running out shortly thereafter amid a big swell of audience hollering. By this time, Lenchantin had already descended the platform and switched from violin to bass and was rocking out with the band. I have no idea when she did this or how it was that I didn't see it happen, which makes me think it happened when the audience's attention was being directed to something else, which constantly happens in big, choreographed stage shows but never in little clubs.
It has been a long, long time since I've seen a band play at a big place, and while they tore deftly through most of the songs on their melodic and yet hard rock debut album—which I've listened to about a million times and I always mention when people ask me what I've been listening to lately—I commented to my friend Sharla that they looked really small from where we were sitting. I mean, they did.
Earlier that day, my fellow Locals Only writer Rich Kane told me that Maynard had the same hair as me, which I found strange since I thought Maynard was bald or had a Mohawk, which is what he had in his other band, Tool, but it seems he's either grown a lot of long black hair or he's wearing a wig. On this night, he was also wearing a knit ski cap and running pants. Perhaps up close there was some big Style Statement he was making, as A Perfect Circle is very sleek and dark and stylized (as is Tool, for that matter, except for the sleek part), but from our vantage point, he just looked like a cross between J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes.
About four or five songs into the set, they did some crazy dance remix of "3 Libras" that really wasn't that crazy or dance-ish but instead was pretty sluggish and involved Maynard singing the same lyrical fragments over and over and over. "Oh, just play the damn song! It's my favorite song!" pleaded Sharla. I doubt they heard her, but they did start playing the album version of the song, which not only made Sharla cheer but also made the three stoned air drummers to our right begin playing their imaginary drum kits in unison.
The wee drummers were trying to keep up with drum aficionado and Orange Countian Josh Freese, who plays in A Perfect Circle as well as about a million other bands and studio projects.
Then Sharla thought she was going to puke because of the couple in front of us, and I started wondering who it is that thinks, "Hey, let's go to A Perfect Circle and cuddle!" Then a horrible thing happened in which I had sudden Couple Vision and everywhere I turned, all I saw were gross, happy couples pressed against each other.
"Last night, this was our last song—tonight, it's not," said Maynard, before playing the radio single "Judith." It was at this point that I realized something horrible has happened to my attention span. I have none! Instead of thinking, "Oh, good, it's not their last," I found myself thinking, "Why not?" And it wasn't because the band was boring—because they weren't—or because we were sitting far away, or because we got a contact high from the kids next to us, or because there were people making out all around us. Okay, maybe it was that a little bit.
But still, this didn't used to happen. It must be the fumes. (Alison M. Rosen)
Doll Hut Heaven
Smear/Choker/Go Forth/Comes With the Fall
Linda's Doll Hut
Friday, Feb. 9
By the time you read this, the ugly, obscene, created-solely-to-prop-up-evil-capitalist-societies Valentine's Day "holiday" will have been vanquished for another year. Good riddance, we say! And, um . . . yes, okay—we're single again. Single because last year, our Significant Other dumped us because they "weren't ready for a relationship with anyone," and yet a scant three months later, they were traipsing around town with someone not ourselves. Feh! Andy Bell was right: Who needs love like that?
Linda Jemison and her famed Doll Hut would never spurn us, so we wound up here on this cold-ass evening, looking for a whole lotta unconditional lovin'—and we got some! But damn, her building could use some reciprocation. Linda tells us the Doll Hut is in need of a good refurbishment: holes need patching, carpet needs replacing, walls need shoring up with something stronger than band stickers. And it seems that if you stand outside the club and gaze at the building, at certain angles, you can see inside, and we don't mean through a window (proceeds from a Jay Buchanan gig the weekend previous are going toward some Hut improvements—thanks, Jay!).
Meanwhile, you can help out by drinking at the Hut a lot more often than you have been. That spiffy, shiny new House of Blues in Anaheim may be fun, but don't forget who was here first. Share the wealth. Linda's is OC's Rock-Club Church, after all, and regular attendance is expected, so let us burden you with a heap of wicked, Catholic-style guilt. Also, remember the Doll Hut in your estate planning! That'll get you into heaven for sure.
Yet it was hell we were hoping for when Comes With the Fall began their set. These North Carolina men have one of those long-winded names that leave us wanting to hate them just so we can spout stuff like "Comes With the Fall should come with a refund!" But they were actually pretty decent, all about big afros atop pipe-cleaner bodies and loud, crunchy, psychedelic-funk, wah-wah excursions that suggested Lenny Kravitz fronting Soundgarden, with maybe a smidgen of Fu Manchu stoniness. Not bad—redundant as all hell, but not bad. Plus, they were very nice and grateful to us when we bought one of their CDs. We may have been their only sale. Always-reliable Go Forth (once known as the Goforthgetters way back when) had no big bad hair, no bad outfits, no bad notes and no bad songs—just good ol' unpretentious rock & roll, all hardened and impeccably hooked out. Especially wondrous was the tragic-teen tale "Suzy" and that "Get Out Shut Up" tune, which may or may not be the actual title, seeing as we left their CD back at the office. But when we buy KROQ someday, we vow immediately to summon Go Forth to the heavy-rotation playlist—they're just about the most perfect, poppy, rock band, and we ain't just saying that because they've been on a couple of OC Weekly compilation CDs.
Choker were a passable, somewhat-generic alterna-rock machine for their first few tunes until they went into one called "Spit Me Out," which felt meatier, bouncier and better—a stinging love sphincter of sonic splendiferousness. The band itself was led by a bespectacled, nervous-looking front man who could speak nothing wrong, probably because the crowd was so numb due to the severe alcohol/wind-chill-factor combo. (Bespectacled, nervous-looking front man: "This is a song about my cat." Numbed crowd: "WOO-OO!") Pussy love songs aside, we thought it funny how similar this tune was to Jay Buchanan's soon-to-be-legendary "If You Leave." The key line is "But if you run away again, I'll kill you!" but Jay takes the blunter "I'll kill you if you leave!" approach.
Hadn't seen Smear in a long time, though it ain't like we haven't tried. Seems that Brea's best-ever band has been busy luring bodies into the Boogie in Anaheim, which we can never get into because we're genuinely repelled by the fake titties and spiky hair. Smear are actually the perfect band for that scene, though: no schmaltzy power balladry here—just a bunch of heavy-metal, disco-boogie, porn operettas coupled with the occasional outburst of poo humor and ass-sex references ("Used Ass Paper" should win a Grammy for . . . um . . . something). Love ya, Smear! Don't ever get too serious. (Rich Kane)
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